I’ve never driven a Westfalia and don’t think I ever will. In fact I’m anything but a nomad. I’ve moved a lot, but mostly lived in the same area for most of my life. I guess I could say that I’m a homebody and need more than a simple pied-à-terre to feel at ease. However, there came a day when I began to hear the murmurs of nature soliciting me to explore the wild and I began to dream about discovering Canada’s West. The Divine must have been listening, for out of nowhere came an invitation for my family and I to move from the Eastern Townships all the way to the borders of the great Canadian Rockies.
At the time, I was of an anxious nature and did not adapt easily to change. So, pondering on this impressive leap, there were mixed emotions… Exhilaration and fear rushed in as the clock ticked away precious minutes; we only had a few days to decide if we were on board or not.
How could we pass up on such a chance? It could be an adventure of a lifetime! I was being confronted by a steady and strong loop that I couldn’t brushoff. But, how would I ever be able to conjure enough courage to leave the safe and comfortable nest we called home?
I felt an aching in my spirit, I wanted to go but I was terrified. What if… A multitude of scenarios played out on the backdrop of my mind. Alright, so you’re afraid, but you’re not weak… what ever happened to that spontaneous girl who wanted to travel the world? The words echoed within me, as I tried to figure out when and how I’d lost my taste for adventure. On a sudden whim, I put myself to the test, daring to take that risky 3800 kilometer plunge and quickly settled on taking that brave first step. We packed our belongings in haste and put the house up for sale.
On a snowy November day, we left our beloved hometown and drove west for five days. As we covered miles and miles of farmland and traversed cities we’d never seen—I didn’t read, as I usually do when travelling—I simply kept my eyes on the horizon, dreaming of what was yet to come. On the final hours of our voyage, the sun glided over the fields and in its steady, smooth and brilliant motion from beyond, I found it to be different. This was a new sun; one that gave me a sentiment of replenishment. I was enthused; I was already adjusting to an unfamiliar way of life.
Sadly, we were not all on the same page when we finally set foot into our new house. I showed my twelve-year-old son his bedroom and that’s when it dawned on him that we’d never go back to the home he had grown up in. Perhaps this was a colossal mistake, we hadn’t thought it through well enough. However, no matter what we were feeling, we all knew that it was too late to turn back now. Over the next minutes, our current reality profoundly sunk in and I felt so guilty for taking my kids from all they’d ever known.
But life goes on… when you let it. My daughter and son eventually made friends and I understood their resilience. Parents are worriers, children are warriors. They’re a lot tougher than we could possibly imagine. Gradually, I grew into the fact that we were enriching our lives on so many levels. We can only learn so much from books, I realized. And right now, my children have the gift of learning from experience. They’re seeing what they’ve never seen before; they are being awakened to new and exciting possibilities. We are also getting a better grasp on life in the great west, its people and traditions, its geography and climate.
It’s easy to be unsure and fearful of the unknown. We’ve definitely hit a few bumps in the road. But I’m glad to have accepted this challenge as we have all grown tremendously since. For us, it has meant taming the unknown, learning to be bold, grasping what life has to offer. It has also taught us to be resilient and brave.
There still isn’t a Westfalia parked in my driveway, but I’m now fully open to adventure. I feel like I’m on a blissful quest with the mission to erode uncertainty, while creating meaningful memories. My wish is to excavate the hidden treasures of lands bursting with wonderful revelations. From now on, I will not shy away from, but grasp my ticket to ride on that spectacular train of life. I want to see eagles soaring above whispering pines, hear packs of wolves howling at the moon and feel the earth trembling beneath my feet from the pounding hooves of wild horses running free.